When you know what this blog post is about, it may sound as though I am banging on about the same old thing, the rejection. Like rejection isn’t a part of the process. I know it is and it’s fine. This post is about a part of the feedback that came with the rejection. Feedback that I am learning from and working with.
The problem with this piece of feedback, hence the blog post, is that I now have to back track and really learn from the people who know. I have to admit that what I originally thought and felt was wrong and adjust my writing accordingly.
The feedback was that my work didn’t have a real sense of place about it. This is something, I was informed, that crime readers like to be immersed in.
Why does this mean I have to backtrack? Well, very recently I have been interviewed on two different blogs. On both Elaine Aldred and Martin Frankson’s blogs, I say that place isn’t important to me. I don’t feel personally tied to a place, for me, it’s the people who make where I am, special and important. I also said that I wanted readers to feel that what they were reading could be taking place anywhere, where ever they are, they could recognise similar city streets. I was wrong.
I obviously wasn’t wrong about how I feel on a personal level about what is important to me, but to readers, in crime novels, place is important and on reflection, I can see this.
For me, this is a fairly easy edit to make to the manuscript. For every scene, the place was already in my head, I just didn’t identify it enough for the reader, or name it. Now I am going back through it and doing this in the relevant places. The one thing I have had to make decisions about, is the use of real and fictional settings. What I think I’m settling on, is a real city, but with smaller outlying area’s that are fictional.
The rejection didn’t just hang on this one thing, there was another, which I may attempt to discuss in another post.
As a reader, do you like to know where the scenes are taking place and does it matter if they are real or fictional? Or as a writer, do you prefer to write about real or fictional settings and why?